Australian Property & Building Inspections continue to provide contactless inspection services during COVID-19 Restrictions. Read More

Australian Property & Building Inspections continue to provide contactless inspection services during COVID-19 Restrictions. Read More

What are your rights when it comes to house inspections

13 May 2018 | iSPECT System


I’ve been a Sydney renter since arriving in the city in 2008. In that time I’ve had six different addresses in four different suburbs. I’ve lived in variety of different properties from apartments to town houses to pokey terraces.
On the whole, renting works for my family and me. But there have been occasions where the power dynamic has left us on the back foot.
Most of us assume that if we’re decent tenants and we’re looking after the property that inspections will be fairly painless. But the reality is, when you are dealing with people, there are bound to be a few differences of opinion.

On the morning of the inspection I planned a final blitz, but was caught off guard when the agent turned up early, along with the landlord. Photo: Stocksy
My own inspection from hell took place a few years ago when my children were small. Our house was clean and in good repair, but with a toddler and a baby at home, it wasn’t especially tidy. On the morning of the inspection I planned a final blitz, but was caught off guard when the agent turned up early, along with the landlord.
I welcomed them in, confident that the toys strewn around and the breakfast things on the table wouldn’t distract from the overall condition of the property. I was wrong. The landlord first she had a pop at my appearance – she noted that I was a bit overweight (“you’re very fat!”) and reminded me about the local park where I could get some exercise. Next she criticised my parenting, telling me that I shouldn’t dress my daughter like a boy (my toddler was fixated with motorbikes at the time.) I felt shell-shocked before she’d even got started on the state of the house.
The toys on the otherwise clean floor were noted in the paperwork. The letting agent took photos for good measure. The landlord tutted at the used plates on the table. She tutted at the kids’ ride-on toys in the garden. She tutted at the washing up drying on the rack. She tutted a lot.

Did the landlord have the right to behave the way she did? Well, technically, no, she didn’t, as Michelle Murray, department manager at Buxtonreal estate, explains. “All parties should also be respectful of each other and treat each other the way they would like to be treated.”

Murray also notes that maintaining a “harmonious relationship” is in the best interests of the landlord and the tenants. “Tenants are as important as landlords and should be treated fairly and equally as one could not be without the other,” she tells me.
As for the untidiness of the property, Murray says tenants have the right to enjoy their home. “An occupant can live how they choose providing they maintain the property, and cleanliness would only be a concern if it was detrimental to the property. Being untidy is not an issue unless it had direct impact on neighbours (e.g. someone who hoards could attract vermin),” she say.

So what else does the law say about inspections? I asked Gavin McInnes, a partner at law firm Rostron Carlyle, to run through the salient points.

Notice period

“In Queensland, a landlord must provide at least seven days’ notice to enter for a routine inspection, using the required form, and entry can be either for a specific time or a two-hour window. The landlord may also only carry out a routine inspection once every three months unless otherwise agreed by the tenant in writing.

“In NSW, seven days’ notice is still required but there are restrictions which provide that the landlord may not enter on Sundays, public holidays or outside of the hours of 8am to 8pm. They are also not able to stay on the premises longer than is necessary to achieve the purpose of the access.

“Victoria has very different notice periods, in particular that they must only give 24 hours written notice for an inspection but that they are only able to carry out one general inspection in any six-month period (and not within the first three months of the lease agreement). The landlord may only enter the property between 8am and 6pm on a day other than a public holiday.”

Despite the legal position, I opted to deal with my critical landlord another way – I avoided her and made sure that I was out of the house during inspections. It may have been her house, but it was my home and I didn’t want to feel insulted in it.

This aricle originally appeared at